Cork midfielder O’Hanlon faces gruelling schedule with club, college and county

Cork midfielder O’Hanlon faces gruelling schedule with club, college and county
Footballer Killian O'Hanlon during the Cork GAA National Leagues media briefing at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

IN theory, Cork midfielder Killian O'Hanlon could be involved in six games in the next two-and-half weeks.

Not only is the 26-years-old Kilshannig player gearing up for the start of the national league, but the third year CIT business student is keen to get the college back into the Sigerson Cup.

Yesterday, the students began their Trench Cup campaign against GMIT in the quarter-final and CIT are one of the fancied sides.

All this on top of a demanding season with his club, who won a gruelling county in November before entering Munster.

“It's been tough”, O'Hanlon admitted earlier in the week. “I had a long club season with Kilshannig and missed all the league with the college.

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“Then I picked up a hamstring injury during the second week back with Cork, so my first session with CIT was only last week.

“The injury set me back a few weeks which meant the preparation for the Trench Cup wasn't great.

“It's not ideal, the possibility of playing Wednesday and Saturday and the same again next week and the week after, too.

“It's a balancing act. I won't be able to train with Cork twice and that's not ideal either. Hopefully, it will all work out.” 

Promotion from Division 3 is the only topic of discussion in the Cork camp as they await Offaly's arrival on Saturday for the 6pm throw-in at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

It's hardly a glamour fixture, but it's obviously important, especially as Cork have yet to win at the revamped venue.

“I don't think getting up for the game will be an issue. It's our first match, at home, and the McGrath Cup game against Limerick was an eye opener.

“Even though we were trying a few things out, it was still a game we wanted to win.

“We were disappointed at losing. It wasn't a good performance and was probably a kick in the backside we needed.

“Not winning at home came up a few times in meetings and it's more annoying than anything.

“You'd like to get results in front of your own crowds and at the same time we're not getting too drawn on it either.” 

Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Division 3 complacency could be an influence even if Cork have no right to believe they're better than the rest. That only comes with performances and results.

“We've seen in the last year or two that we can mix it with the best teams, when we're on our game and tuned in, but anyone can beat us, when we're not.

“We know we have to be tuned in, on top of our game. Anyone who thinks we're going to blitz every team in division 3 is deluded.

“A lot of it isn't going to be pretty, so we have to be able to adapt to whatever is thrown at us. We will have to steel ourselves for a few dogfights.

“We're also stepping into the unknown and teams travel here to play in Páirc Uí Chaoimh will be desperate for a result.

“A team playing in the Super 8s last year and now in division 3 is another reason to try and take us down."

O'Hanlon has nailed down the midfield slot alongside captain Ian Maguire as both enter the prime stages of their inter-county careers.

The Kilshannig player admitted it hasn't been easy as he's been in and out of the panel over the seasons.

"I'm a lot more confident now. When I first came in I was questioning myself as to whether I was was good enough to be here.

"I didn't push on in games or in training. When I was let go I knew what I had to do, get the body right.

"Even in Ronan's first year, I wasn't pushing on fully. A lot of it is confidence.

"I was happy enough with last year. I started more games and stayed injury-time."

Cork's All-Ireland U20 success has impacted with the introduction of some exciting talent, notably up front.

O'Hanlon has recognised their immediate impact. "Some of the more established lads in the group might think they're under pressure," he concluded.

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